Mexico’s burgeoning aerospace and defense (A&D) manufacturing industry is increasing its demand for thermal spray coatings. With compositions that include an array of metals ranging from aluminum to tungsten, these coatings are presenting tensile bond strengths in thousands of pounds per square inch.
Logging a growth rate of approximately 20 percent per year over the past five years, Mexico’s aerospace and defense industry reached the $7 billion sales level in 2013 with approximately $5.5 billion of that exported, according to a 2015 report by a PwC Mexico. Mexico’s Secretario de Economía, Ildefonso Guajardo, estimated that exports for 2015 reached $7.2 billion. Exports by the industry are expected to exceed $12 billion by the end of this decade.
Over the past 20 years, some $3 billion of foreign investment has gone into Mexico’s A&D industry, with leading recipient states including Querétaro – with has captured about half of all FDI, Baja California, Chihuahua and Nuevo León. Overall, some 300 companies are involved in A&D manufacturing in Mexico, employing some 45,000 workers.
The Mexican government is fostering growth in the industry with its Pro-Aeréo 2012 – 2020 Plan, with the goal of having Mexico place among the top 10 suppliers in the A&D industry worldwide, up from a current position of about 15th. Currently, Mexico is the fourth largest manufacturer in the hemisphere, following the United States, Canada and Brazil.
The industry also may boost its defense element. Mexico’s Secretariat of Defense (SEDENA) hopes to design and build a twin-seat fixed-wing aircraft and a pair of experimental planes for basic flight training by 2018, following on the heels of Brazil’s Embraer.
“Unlike most of the aeronautical manufacturing operations in Mexico which only produce independent aircraft parts and components, there are four platforms which will produce practically the full aircraft airframe, to which, the other systems could be added on to produce a finished product,” observed the PwC report.
Among major coatings suppliers to Mexico’s A&D industry is Axalta, which markets Latin America as a whole from its Colombia location, according to Karla Tortolero, the manager, marketing and strategic planning Andean Region and Central America at Axalta Coating Systems. One Sherwin-Williams distribution hub for its aviation products is Hawker Beechcraft Services, in Monterrey. Other international suppliers to Mexico include AkzoNobel, BASF, Henkel and PPG.
Among the major players in the A&D industry with a presence in Baja California, Mexico are: Asteelflash; Benchmark Electronics; Conesys; CST; Cubic; Delphi; Eaton; Esterline; Honeywell; Kavlico; Lockheed Martin; Smiths Connectors, Smiths Interconnect; and Zodiac Aerospace, according to Co-Production International, an aviation manufacturing administrative services provider based in San Diego.
Aerospace coatings services provider, Ellison Surface Technologies, based in Cincinnati, Ohio, recently gained accreditation by the National Aerospace and Defense Contractors Accreditation Program (Nadcap) for its Guaymas, Sonora state facility.
“I am proud of our team in Guaymas and excited for the growth of this operation as we become an integral part of the aerospace and industrial gas turbine manufacturing hub in Sonora,” said C. Michael Ellison, the president and CEO of Ellison, at the time.